Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gannon, Hardly a Journalist (and Hardly a Conservative) "Quits" the White House Beat

Jeff Gannon, we hardly knew you.

Gannon, a conservative "journalist" for the farcical TalonNews.com, called it quits Tuesday.

As reported here and elsewhere last week (http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2005/02/meet-jeff-gannon-another-conservative.html), Gannon wasn't really a reporter. He was a plant, paid by Bobby Eberle, a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, which touts itself as "bringing the conservative message to America."

Gannon managed to secure a daily press pass, and soon became a favorite of Bush press secretary Scott McLellan, who would call on Gannon multiple times, favoring Gannon's Bush-friendly "questions" over real queries from the mainstream press. Instead of "reports," Gannon admitted he copied Bush administration and Republican National Committee documents, without attribution, claiming such documents were "free of spin."

***

But one thing about the world we live in today -- it's hard to keep a secret.

It was difficult for Gannon to continue lobbing softballs before someone noticed -- most notably mediamatters.org's David Brock. Soon the White House was backpeddling, trying to suggest it hadn't played favorites with Gannon.

Then today, news came that various liberal bloggers, including Daily Kos, had completed investigations of Gannon, finding skeletons in his closet. As word spread into the mainstream press -- including a column today on WashingtonPost.com -- the conventional wisdom was that Gannon's sudden departure from the White House beat was to avoid further press scrutiny.

Turns out that Jeff Gannon is a pseudonym for James "J.D." Guckert, and that Gannon is the owner of three web domains: hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com and militaryescortsm4m.com. Only hotmilitarystud.com is an active site.

Hardly what you'd expect from someone "bringing the conservative message to America."

The blog MediaCitizen (http://mediacitizen.blogspot.com) requested an interview with Gannon with regard to Talon News and GOPUSA, and the various web domains. An hour later, Gannon announced his resignation, posting on his website: "Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News."

I can hardly wait to hear how Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity -- two conservatives who have praised Gannon in the past -- will spin this one.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just a hilarious great story. Only in America!

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, whose worse Gannon or Rather? It's funny, RatherGate has never been mentioned on JAABS. Oh that's right, its journalists against Bush Bullshit. Not Liberal bullshit, which, ironically, there is a lot more of.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RatherGate has been mentioned on JABBS

http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2005/01/conservatives-say-otherwise-but-panel.html

Another example of a conservative not letting the facts get in the way of a good argument.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather has been mentioned here. the two are not even comparable. we are talking about CBS, Dan Rather versus someone 99% of the public never heard of. doesnt make this right but not comparable.

there are certainly more interesting subjects to deal with....like N Korea, Condi Rice's trip, Iran, Israel etc.... I am sick of hearing about SS and Bush. I want more about terrorism.

Or more about teachers sleeping with kids....anyone see Bill Maher on Hannity & Colmes. Was hilarious.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe only journalists understand how insulting the Jeff Gannon affair has been to the profession.

The decisions made by this administration -- paying columnists, using on-air Fox News personalities as consultants, giving Gannon credence -- are all efforts to control the U.S. media.

So, in the media world, Jeff Gannon is a big story. It doesn't have the implications of our policy in Iraq or Social Security, but it's nonetheless meaningful.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't Gannon play quarterback for the Raiders. I never knew he wrote too. Well at least he's a Bush supporter..

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To a journalist-type, apparently Gannon is a big deal. Then one would have to assume that the bastardization of the news by Dan Rather was equally appalling, but unfortunately, that has not been how the Dems handle things. At least jabbs managed to not portray this under the homosexual angle that all of the other moonbat bloggers did. Props to you for that. Aren't there more important things out there to discuss? If journalism is your bailiwick, how about something about Eason Jordan accusing the US military of executing journalists? Gotcha ... this is only fun when you can bash a conservative. Enough of this liberal holier than thou bs attitude. Keep on losing and keep on whining.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Jeff Gannon and Jayson Blair? There is no difference between them. Each ‘journalist’ worked for a news organization with a political agenda.
Each ‘journalist” was under-qualified and did not earn his credentials.
Where was the outrage over Jayson Blair? When Jayson Blair was exposed, there was considerably less outrage. This is because NYT’s political agenda garners sympathy in the popular media. The prevailing attitude toward NYT’s political agenda is, “NYT had good intentions, and Jayson really burned them.” When Jeff Gannon was exposed popular media and liberal blogs did what they always do including accusations of plots, being on the payroll of the diabolical Bush Whitehouse, that whole ‘vast right wing conspiracy thing.’ So, please spare me your outrage. Or, at least admit that both liberal and conservative media outlets are equally guilty of political motivations; and each side employs stooges to carry out the job.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYT took heat for Blair and people lost jobs if i recall.

the big difference is this was the NYT, the stadnard bearer of news.

much much bigger story than Gannon.

I agree with you - politics exists everywhere and people act unthically on both sides of the aisle.

But lets feel bad for the democrats....they have some form of eyesight ailment. the only thing they can see is George Bush.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some gross misconceptions here, trying to compare Blair with Gannon.

Blair had a journalism background, and worked for a regular news organization. For whatever reason, he began writing stories he knew to be false, and the Times management failed to prosecute the case internally until lengthy damage had been done. Blair was fired, as were several top editors.

The Blair case was similar to Stephen Glass of The New Republic, and one of the reporters at USA Today. And if you go back, MSNBC pundit Mike Barnicle was once fired by the Boston Globe for making up stories. One of the Washington Post columnists -- going back about 15 years -- was dumped for making up people for her columns. The mainstream press generally doesn't accept liars.

Gannon, however, was not a journalist. He admitted to as much when he posted on freerepublic.com. TalonNews wasn't a real news organization. It was paid for by a top official in the Texas GOP.

Now, there's nothing wrong with a conservative media outlet. There's nothing wrong with such an outlet getting access to the White House press secretary.

But consider that Gannon was using a pseudonym -- and people who use pseudonyms are not allowed to get daily press passes. So someone failed in the vetting process. Beyond that, press secretary McLellan clearly used Gannon as a lifeline -- all you have to is do a Lexis/Nexis search and check the transcripts. On several occasions, when the questioning got tough, McLellan would call on Gannon, and allow him to ask multiple follow-up questions.

Furthermore, my Gannon's admission, he received administration documents regarding the Valerie Plame outing. How did he receive these? Because McLellan, and perhaps a lot of other people in the administration, knew who Gannon was, and what role he could play in getting the story out.

So you have a guy who should never have gotten access to the White House press secretary actually getting favorable treatment from that press secretary. That's wrong.

The sideshow about the gay web sites Gannon runs really has nothing to do with the journalism question. It's just the trivial element that many have focused on -- a way for conservatives to shout and scream that liberal bloggers were being unfair and anti-gay.

The real question -- the one that should get someone in trouble -- is why someone with Gannon's background, and using a pseudonym, was allowed such special access to the White House press secretary.

Like the Valerie Plame affair, though, I doubt we'll never know the answer to that. No one will ever get in trouble in the White House. And now that Gannon has quit TalonNews, I'm sure the mainstream media will quickly forget about him, too.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the New York Times as a "liberal" newspaper -- this is just conservative mythmaking.

Read Elisabeth Bumiller and tell me she's a liberal, with her stream of pro-Bush propaganda.

Read Judith Miller, who fell hook line and sinker for the Ahmed Chalabi-fed story in pre-war Iraq. She so bought the administration line that the Times had to run a half-page correction about her amassment of stories. She subsequently wrote the false story -- and White House wet dream -- that Chalabi would be named a minister in the new Irqi government. She is now cover the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, which has, as its primary source, Ahmed Chalabi.

Read Jim Rutenberg, and tell me he's a liberal journalist. He was the one writing all the stories about hte Bush and Kerry ads. He would nit-pick about any small mistake in the Kerry ads, but, in full hypocrisy, would provide explanation that he admitted he received from the Bush administration to justify claims made in Bush ads.

Read Kit Seelye and tell me she's a liberal. She was one of the main journalists -- along with CeCe Connolly of the Washington Post -- to push several anti-Gore stories in the 2000 election. The stories were essentially GOP spin -- things Gore didn't say about Love Canal, the Internet, etc., that the GOP was able to twist and turn in their war against Gore.

People who blindly say that the Times is liberal either don't read the paper, or know that the myth of "liberal media bias" is much easier to repeat incessantly than actually analyzing the paper and the political writers it employs.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have heard members of the executive managment of the times indicate the paper attempts to report down the center but admittedly, a significant number of the reporters/journalists/writers lean left politically.

So you can choose particular items where the times seemed to report one way or another (noone is saying it never reports anything pro Bush--in other words it is not overrun with the democrats currently running the party), it doesnt mean a thing.

The Times generally leans center to the left.....what is so wrong with that. Why does every liberal constantly try and argue that isnt true. Might as well quit--noone is listening. Anyone who reads a host of newspapers will see the Times leans somewhat left. Just the way it is.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cite something. Find a quote from a current executive at the NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe or L.A. Times who admits their papers is left of center.

Why won't liberal "admit" that there is "liberal media bias"? Duh. Because we can cite example after example of GOP spin making into these so-called "liberal" newspapers. The problem is that people -- conservative or otherwise -- buy into the idea of "liberal media bias" because they hear it over and over.

Don't think it's true?

A poll taken by Newsweek found that something like 66% of Americans agree that Social Security is in trouble. Why do they think that? Because they've been told it, ad nauseum, by their president and by his supporters on talk radio, pundit television, their local editorial page, etc.

If you asked these same people a year ago whether they though Social Security was in trouble, I bet less than 25% would think so. It was a political topic barely registering a blip on the radar.

But now we're getting it shoved down our throats, and we're being told that the system is on the verge of bankruptcy (a very misleading claim, but facts don't really matter with this administration), and so, sure, people catch on after a while. Bravo Karl Rove!!!

So, for 35 years, since Spiro Agnew began talking about it, the right has been pushing the concept of "liberal media bias," non-stop. It doesn't matter what the facts are, it only matters that the right has better been able to deliver their version of reality.

I could ask you to cite examples when any of the key newspapers nationwide showed "liberal media bias," but I doubt you'd be able to find many. I, however, could cite dozens of times, just in the last four years, that the NY Times alone aped GOP spin in stories.

But would you accept that against your pre-conceived script? Probably not.

Stop believing the myths and legends of GOP spin. Do your own research. Do your own thinking.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think for yourself? So, anybody that does not agree with the prior poster is unable to form a rational conclusion? That is exactly the way to conduct a fair debate, but regardless, I shall throw out an example ...

One of the editors at the LA Times publicly apologized for the readily apparent pro-choice slanted article presented in the news section of their paper. He indicated that it inaccurately portrayed the positions of the pro life movement, and acknowledge that the writer's personal beliefs clouded the writing at hand.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really think that with a little research, this blog wouldnt be shut down by the amount of liberal bias that could be put up here. My Lord....what a bunch of crap.

It is fine to debate what the conservative spin is and where it shows up. Or that it is growing in scope. But just showing that from time to time it makes its way into what otherwise are liberal papers does not mean there is no liberal slant. You are not living in reality. You would have everyone believe that this 40 year old brainwashing has led to the liberal media bias theory.....that everyone who thinks that is just wrong. You need to wake up....i began reading newspapers relatively frequently about 10 years ago and had never heard of any bias, nor did i care. i read the Times avidly and have watched it move more to the left over the years, particularly the last 3 years or so. You can say what you want--call me an idiot--but i was not brainwashed by conservative spin. It is just absurd. You can say what you want about the Times-and i still like it-but it tends to tell a story in a way that makes america and/or the administration look bad. and this is true even when they shouldnt look as bad.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

That's the problem. The assumption has to be that the major newspapers are liberal and that conservative "bias" only appears occasionally.

Why can't it be that there is a mix of left-leaning and right-leaning topics, that are covered with reasonable balance by major newspapers? There are some stories that could be covered better, but generally, even the NY Times and the Washington Post are fair in their coverage.

The conservatives don't want that, though. They want it to be that these newspapers are not only liberal, but are somehow shaping America -- which is a bunch of hogwash.

I read JABBS and dailyhowler.com and some of the other sites, and what I see are well-documented cases of conservative spin appearing in news stories. But when JABBS or whoever points out those examples, the conservatives either respond by saying the story doesn't matter, or that the story was right to cover it that way, with the conservative spin leading the way. It's a no-win situation.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you cite an example of the NY Times moving leftward over the last three years? The biggest thing I've seen in the Times was the Judith Miller stuff, cited above, which the Times had to apologize for. And that was blatant pro-Bush, pro-war spin.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

above blogger made me laugh out loud. why cant we admit that there are left and right leaning papers and generally things are reported accurately. and conservatives wont admit that.

i am not a conservative but i will admit that. so will many conservatives.

now lets all take a deep breath. this entire site is devoted to attempting to point out not just that the liberal bias doesnt exist but that there is a conservative bias. and that such a bias shapes america. i am sorry, bloggerm, but you cant have it both ways.

how liberals can be so intelligent and blind at the same time is beyond me.

7:00 PM  

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